Thursday, December 12, 2019

They've Gone Plaid!

Tesla Model S
When the Tesla Model S introduced a "Ludicrous Speed" mode, I wondered if that term was inspired by the Mel Brooks movie, Space Balls. But nothing I read about the Model S mentioned Space Balls. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence. In Ludicrous Speed mode, the Model S (a four-door sedan) could go from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds. That's faster than many supercars. The advantage the Model S has is, being electric, 100% of its torque is available at zero RPM like all electric cars. This is unlike a gasoline engine where the torque usually maximizes around 1,000 or so RPM (depends on the engine design). This is why in drag racing the drivers will have the engine running fast ("rev the engine") when they take off to maximize the torque available.

So, I went for a few years wondering if Ludicrous Speed had anything to do with Space Balls.

But now Tesla has a faster mode that involves cars having three motors instead of the two required for Ludicrous Speed. And guess what they call it. "Plaid mode." That has to be a reference to Space Balls. If you don't know why, watch this clip from the movie (Warning: NSFW language).

So anyone who has seen Space Balls is in on the joke. And Elon Musk or someone at Tesla has a great sense of humor.

Of course, spending $100,000 or more on a car that can't go to Seattle and back without a long charging session still doesn't make sense to me.

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